WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump’s choice to take over the second highest position in the Justice Department won Senate confirmation Thursday.
Jeffrey Rosen, the departing deputy secretary at the Department of Transportation, will take over for Rod Rosenstein, whose appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller and oversight of the Russia investigation made him an unwelcome figure in the Trump administration.
Before he was tapped for the deputy secretary gig in 2017, Rosen worked as a partner at the Washington, D.C., firm Kirkland & Ellis. Rosen also served previously as general counsel at the Office of Management and Budget during the George W. Bush Administration. He officially left the Justice Department last week.
The deputy attorney general sits just below the attorney general in the Justice Department’s hierarchy and oversees the work of various divisions within the agency, including the criminal division and United States attorneys.
Rosen’s nomination has prompted criticism from Democrats who say his time in Washington has not given him the experience necessary to take on the position. Despite having never worked as a prosecutor, Rosen’s new duties at the Justice Department will include oversight of their work.
Rosen told the Senate Judiciary Committee, the panel that processed his nomination, that he can compensate for his relative inexperience in the area by availing himself of the “highly capable” prosecutors and criminal-law experts who work at the Justice Department.
Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who chairs the Judiciary Committee, defended Rosen’s readiness to take on the position, saying the job of deputy attorney general is to manage employees, something Rosen has done.
“This is not a prosecutor’s job,” Graham said last week. “The job of deputy attorney general, among others, is to manage the organization, which is $28 billion and more than 100,000 employees.”
But Rosen’s critics said someone taking such a high position at the Justice Department should have independent knowledge of the issues he will oversee in the job.
“At this critical moment, we need a deputy attorney general who is familiar with the Justice Department, who has experience in overseeing criminal investigations and prosecutions and who is committed to the department’s role of enforcing the law independently without fear or favor,” Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said on the Senate floor Wednesday.
Rosen was confirmed in a 52-45 vote on Thursday afternoon.